Joel Greenberg, Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-FL) associate who has been slapped with dozens of criminal charges, is reportedly assisting Justice Department investigators in their inquiry into whether the Republican lawmaker made cash payments for sex and had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old.
The New York Times reports that Greenberg, who formerly served as a Seminole County tax collector in Florida, told the investigators about encounters he and Gaetz had had with women who had received money or gifts in exchange for sex. A previous Times report revealed that those encounters were part of the Justice Department’s investigation into Gaetz, which stemmed from the probe into Greenberg.
Some of the charges against Greenberg include sex trafficking involving a minor and using data available to him as a tax collector in his pursuit of “sugar daddy” relationships. Investigators are trying to determine whether the minor was the same 17-year-old Gaetz is alleged to have had sex with.
According to the new Times report, Greenberg met with the investigators several times in a bid for leniency in his sweeping criminal case after realizing how much evidence prosecutors had on him at that point.
Harlan Hill, a spokesperson for Gaetz, told the Times that Greenberg was “trying to ensnare innocent people in his troubles,” and repeated the congressman’s claim of never paying for sex. Gaetz has not been criminally charged and has denied all allegations against him.
Multiple outlets reported last week that Greenberg was expected to plead guilty. He has so far pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Fritz Scheller, Greenberg’s attorney, told reporters after his client’s hearing on Thursday, “I am sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today.”
The lawyer also said Greenberg was “uniquely situated.”